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Part One: Crowley and Boessenkool on Premier John Hamm’s ‘Campaign for Fairness’

Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm has taken his ‘Campaign for Fairness’ to Ottawa, where he is calling for a better deal for the province on equalisation and natural resource revenues, among other things. But according to AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley and Alberta commentator Ken Boessenkool, Premier Hamm is neglecting the potential for collaboration on these issues with other provinces, such as oil-rich Alberta. In this National Post op-ed piece, Boessenkool and Crowley lay out a strategy for dealing with natural resource revenues that would strengthen all the provinces, while helping equalisation-receiving provinces off dependence on federal transfers.

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Part Two: How well do the media handle complex scientific debates such as aquaculture?

A leading national expert on science, the media and public policy says that policy makers and the public who rely on the media for clear, complete and unbiased information on complex scientific debates are often disappointed. Dr. David Murray will develop these themes in a keynote address to How to Farm the Seas II: The Science, Economics and Politics of Aquaculture on the West Coast, to be held February 15-17, 2001, in Vancouver. Dr. Murray is the Director of Research for the Washington-based Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving media coverage of scientific, medical, and statistical information.

Aquaculture is an industry beset by scientific controversy, at least as it is portrayed in the media, yet Dr. Murray will argue that “when scientific debates come to trial in the court of public opinion, the media all too often act as Prosecutor, Judge, and Jury. Unfortunately, they don’t always provide ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’ Scientific complexity deserves better — as do the policymakers whose decisions require sound scientific information.”

The AIMS/CAI conference, “How to Farm the Seas II: the Science, Economics and Politics of Aquaculture on the West Coast” will open in Vancouver in a few days’ time. There are still a few spots available for anyone wishing to attend.

Like its East Coast predecessor, How to Farm the Seas II will assemble a team of leading national and international experts to clarify both the strengths and weaknesses of aquaculture, and to lay down the basis for a sensible public policy to govern the industry.

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Part Three: AIMS debates Atlantic Canada’s future in Policy Options magazine

In the December edition of the prestigious Policy Options magazine, the cover story was the future of Atlantic Canada. Editor William Watson interviewed AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, as well as APEC President Elizabeth Beale and MUN economist Wade Locke on their policy prescriptions for the region. The result is a stimulating picture of the different philosophies now competing for dominance in economic and social policy in Atlantic Canada. Thanks to the kind permission of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and Policy Options magazine, the entire interview is available on the AIMS website in .pdf format.

If you wish to know more about the IRPP and Policy Options magazine, please visit their website at www.irpp.org

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Part Four: Back by popular demand: AIMS’ paper on venture capital in Atlantic Canada

One of the very first papers AIMS ever published was on the availability of venture capital in Atlantic Canada and the sensible policy changes that governments needed to make in order to ensure a supply of private capital for sound investments in the region. “Venture Capital in Atlantic Canada: Asking the Right Questions”, by AIMS’ Fred McMahon and Dane Rowlands of Carleton University, became an instant classic when it was first published in 1996, not least for its pathbreaking conclusion that there was no shortage of investment capital in the region. Despite the paper’s popularity, however, it has never been available on the web. After repeated requests from investors, policy makers and others, we have decided to post it on our site.

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Part Five: Don’t be railroaded by light rail urban transit

According to Halifax’s new mayor, Peter Kelly, using existing rail lines to create a light rail transit system is the way of the future. Even though ridership today would be extremely low, he argues that now is the time to build. As people realize the joys of light rail transit, in his view, they will progressively abandon their cars. A line to Bedford will, in a few years’ time, be a godsend, as the traffic on the Bedford Highway, for example, becomes even more unbearable.

If the mayor’s assumptions about light rail were correct, the picture he paints of the future of urban transit would be an attractive one. But, alas, he has his facts quite wrong, and his vision of an urban transit idyll is, in fact, a costly and inefficient nightmare.

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